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Sail Date: August 2019
The Victory II ship was recently renovated and they did an excellent job. The ship is fresh, clean, and very well appointed. Every staff member we have met is attentive and concerned for our satisfaction. Our cabin is more than adequate ... Read More
The Victory II ship was recently renovated and they did an excellent job. The ship is fresh, clean, and very well appointed. Every staff member we have met is attentive and concerned for our satisfaction. Our cabin is more than adequate with one exception: the shower is extremely small. Meals are quite varied. On more than one occasion we have ordered doubles of items on the menu, or we have ordered multiple items from each category, with no questions asked from the staff. All of the tours has been enjoyable, informative, and worth the time. The cruise director has done a very good job of telling us what to expect for our next day of adventure. Going through the various locks along the way has been one of the most interesting parts of this trip. I would highly recommend this cruise. I have seen criticisms of where the ship docks and my only comment to that is: this is a ship and it has to be dock at a port, and the ports are not necessarily in the best part of town…. Why would you expect a ship port to be in a beautiful part of town? Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise to get a lifetime experience on the Mississippi River. The advertising of the cruise was very effusive about the standard of the service and the experiences that were to be enjoyed. But, let me tell you what really was ... Read More
We chose this cruise to get a lifetime experience on the Mississippi River. The advertising of the cruise was very effusive about the standard of the service and the experiences that were to be enjoyed. But, let me tell you what really was experienced. Meals: The restaurant setting is comfortable but crowded. The furniture needs a good clean. The meals were presented in a haphazard style with little appeal to the presented food, it was just placed on the plate. The menu selection on some of the days was appalling. Rooms: Our room was comfortable but included basic furniture. The bed was too short ( I am 179 cm or 5'11") and my feet hung over the end of the bed. The linen was a good quality. Entertainment: This was the highlight of the cruise. Variety and energy were the keys to keeping us entertained. Very good standard of delivery was held throughout the cruise. Gym: A very basic and barely adequate gym and pool is on board. Service: This was the most disappointing aspect of the cruise. After paying $AUS1,000+ per day for a cabin leading onto the veranda, service delivery was very poor. We had to continually request shampoo, soap and other bathroom amenities be maintained. The service in the dining room was appalling. Food was plonked on the table without any of the normal etiquette processes, wine was sloshed into glasses, orders were forgotten, explanation of selections was very poor and there was no continual supervision of the table. Excursions: The complementary shuttle bus service was very welcome and appreciated. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
This cruise for for my 10th anniversary. We were the youngest couple on the boat (not a critique, just an observation). It was the first river boat experience for both of us. There was one port-of-call change that was made after we ... Read More
This cruise for for my 10th anniversary. We were the youngest couple on the boat (not a critique, just an observation). It was the first river boat experience for both of us. There was one port-of-call change that was made after we booked due to an event at on of the ports that seemed significant enough to have warranted more warning. The excursions we took: The LEWIS & CLARK EXPERIENCE THE ULTIMATE PACIFIC NORTHWEST EXPERIENCE The PENDLETON TOUR THE COMPLETE LEWIS-CLARK VALLEY WINE TOUR The Hits: The room and service was excellent as expected The food was amazing with a variety of changing options at every seating The scenery in transit was beautiful The "riverlorian" The Lewis-Clark Valley Wine Tour Most of the entertainment The Misses: Some of the excusrions. The example I'll give is The Ultimate Pacific Northwest Experience, but we had similar experiences on more than excursion. This tour attempts to pack in far too much in one day. We were on the bus traveling between locations far longer than we got to spend at any of them. "Enrichment" on this tour is simply not an option. For example, stopping at the magnificent Multnomah Falls, we were allotted less than an hour. Only the most active and spry of us made it to the bridge, wit barely enough time to walk the rest of the grounds. It was basically race the bridge, then back down to spend a few minutes in the gift shop before taking off to the next place. Lunch was great, but maybe a catered lunch at Timberline instead, with more time at that location (and the others) would have made this excursion better. Maybe it's just me, but I would prefer more detailed enrichment at fewer places than less at more locations and spending too much time travelling between locations. The Entertainment The quartet contains talented musicians and excelled at the small scale pieces tasked to play. It was perfect for the '50-60's night. For some of the bigger themed pieces, a quartet is just not big enough to simulate some of the "big band" or Broadway orchestra pieces that were presented. This band would be so much better served with just one more member, specifically a horn, either trumpet or even a trombone, and it would really round out the sound. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
First, the cruises offered by ACL are geared towards mature audiences - 60's and up, although there very people much younger on this cruise. Actually who's on the cruise really doesn't matter to me, as long as people are ... Read More
First, the cruises offered by ACL are geared towards mature audiences - 60's and up, although there very people much younger on this cruise. Actually who's on the cruise really doesn't matter to me, as long as people are enjoying their experience. I have taken 7 ocean cruises and on rivercruise (20 years ago). If you are expecting in your face activities and craziness, pick something other than a river cruise. This was a celebration cruise for my husband and I, and when greeted when boarding the boat, we were congratulated and on the second day, after returning from a shore excursion, we found champagne and strawberries in our cabin! Every crew member is there to serve you and extend extraordinary customer service, which was evident every minute of the day (we had to ask someone to thread a needle, and they did so with a smile!). When crew members say they love their jobs, that says something about a company! Because the river was running high, a last minute change of itinerary was made and I thought it gave us an even better experience; also, Because we were in the height of Mardi Gras season, instead of staying in a hotel pre-cruise (part of your fare), we stayed on the boat - we were greeted by a lovely buffet and drinks. We were not able to dock at Houmas House or Oak Alley, but those excursions were changed to days when we were in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. We cruised up to St. Francisville instead on the first day, and had the choice of three additional excursions (only 2 of the many offered were premium at an extra charge, by the way...). Also in Baton Rouge, which is not the most exciting stop, they added a walking tour by their river guide, which made is all worth while. And because we returned to New Orleans a half day early, excursions to the WW2 museum and a French Quarter walking tour were added! I think this was all handle exceptionally well!!! On the ACL cruises, beer and wine are included at Lunch, cocktail hour, dinner and during the evening entertainment, so you are not running up a tab. The food was excellent and you could request half portions. There were also snacks, coffee, tea, fruit, juice and soda always available in two of the lounges. My husband had never cruised before and I knew that an ocean cruise was out of the question - he thoroughly enjoyed this and we are considering other itineraries in the future. The cost seems high at first, but when I compared it to an ocean cruise with similar accommodations (balcony), and considering that there is no charge for adult beverages, no tipping, free excursions, free WIFI, the cost is comparable. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
AQSC has river cruising figured out. The Duchess is an awesome vessel and continues the tradition of first class river cruising started by her mother, the American Queen. Our cruise from Nashville to Chattanooga on the Cumberland and ... Read More
AQSC has river cruising figured out. The Duchess is an awesome vessel and continues the tradition of first class river cruising started by her mother, the American Queen. Our cruise from Nashville to Chattanooga on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers was very relaxing and historical and the scenery was beautiful. Even though the Duchess is not nearly as big as the Queen, she is very elegant and well laid out. Large cabins, sufficient public spaces, excellent dining, impeccable service and excellent entertainment are some of the attributes that make this a nearly perfect vessel to explore America's great rivers. Entertainment trio of Dustin, Courtney and Jeff did a fantastic job each night and are some of the hardest working entertainers we have witnessed. We appreciated that they performed music from the 50's and 60's. The riverlorian, Mike, gave daily informative, interesting and entertaining talks about the river history, lore, navigation and other subjects. Teresa did an awesome job with our daily shore excursions and hop on hop off itinerary. We love AQSC and always look forward to our next cruise on America's rivers on either the Queen, the Duchess and hopefully, the Empress. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
there was a credit of $800.00 from a previous sailing with the American Queen Steamboat company. We wanted to try the American Queen - the biggest of the 3 ships in the American Steamboat co. We were waiting for the last minute deal ... Read More
there was a credit of $800.00 from a previous sailing with the American Queen Steamboat company. We wanted to try the American Queen - the biggest of the 3 ships in the American Steamboat co. We were waiting for the last minute deal , we found this cruise in a very short notice of departure. the ship was built in 1995 - a paddle wheeler, the steamboat built back to the Victorian history of the 1900 -including the furniture in the cabin, the theatre, dining room, lounges. entertainment -done by the ship's own members -dancers & singers, world-class musicians - organized by the Steamboat Syncopators -playing trumpet ,bass, drums ,.piano,saxophone,clarinet , flute & trombone. and also outside guests performance - Dante Vaudeville -magic show,Lainie Gulliksen -Siren Songs celebrating the Sirens of Broadway,Pop, & Opera , also the ship's own musician entertainers During the day there were River Chat ,Movie Matinee ,Bingo dinner - on the J.M. White Dining Room -we were on the 5.15pm early seating food was good service were great there was a land tour -on the ship's Hop on Hop Off busesto visit many Plantation , resorts ,museum churches. there was hardly any children Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Wanted to see the northwest and brochures for American Cruise lines was inviting. The queen of the West American Cruise Line trip was very disappointing. The ship was old, food mediocre, overpriced, noisy going through the locks. The young ... Read More
Wanted to see the northwest and brochures for American Cruise lines was inviting. The queen of the West American Cruise Line trip was very disappointing. The ship was old, food mediocre, overpriced, noisy going through the locks. The young staff, wait staff, while they try hard are only part timers. The stops were boring, except for the Snake River jet boat. , sad to pay so much and be let down. The entertainment was not good, except for Kevin Neil, who was great !!! They could have him every night. Not the fault of the line, but the smoke from the California and Canadian fires really obstructed our views. Even when you get to a excursion you like, there is not enough time to stay. Breakfast was the only meal that was ok ( as a cook myself, hard to mess up breakfast). Queen of the West was supposed to be refurbished. They put new carpeting on the top deck and new chairs. Save your money. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This was probably the best cruise experience my wife and I ever had in over 16 years of cruising on a variety of cruise lines. The all-American crew provided first class service and did put some meaning to the idea of joining the AQSC ... Read More
This was probably the best cruise experience my wife and I ever had in over 16 years of cruising on a variety of cruise lines. The all-American crew provided first class service and did put some meaning to the idea of joining the AQSC family. American Queen was a true elegant Southern Belle affording us an experience closeted in sophisticated Southern Charm with true superior service. The entertainment was far better than we ever imagined with some class acts worthy of a place on Broadway. From the time of joining this steamboat at the included first night in the Hilton at the Ballpark in St. Louis until departure from the Premier Excursion at Minneapolis Airport, we never lacked the attention of the crew. Obtaining our boarding tickets for the included Hop-on / Hop-off tour busses was an easy nightly task that ensured we knew when we had to be at the gangway. Food was of the best and copious glasses of wine at dinner added to a very convivial atmosphere. We just cannot wait for the next publication of itineraries to select our 2020 return trip up the Ohio and Tennessee rivers on this beauty of a steamboat (or a sister). The only Premier excursions we purchased were the tours on Joining and departing the ship (with Airport Drop-off). All guides whether on the Hop-on / Hop-off or Premier excursions were of the highest calibre. Well done AQSC you have spoilt me, and now you've got me for life. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose the American Duchess as it was mainly suites and fewer quests. We went from Memphis to New Orleans, The cabin was very comfortable and not confining. There was a house band that was good would have liked more variety. Local ... Read More
We chose the American Duchess as it was mainly suites and fewer quests. We went from Memphis to New Orleans, The cabin was very comfortable and not confining. There was a house band that was good would have liked more variety. Local music would have been my choice (blues band, jazz band, Country band, riverboat music ). We had reservations the same time each evening with the same couple we met on the first day aboard. This riverboat had its own buses that were available at each stop for free hop on/hop off stops in each stop. They were free and worked for us. There were premium excursions $$ which we didn't try. Our dinner waiter took good care of us, however, breakfast and lunch in the main dinning room was sometimes spotty. There were other areas of buffet style food available. In addition free ice cream was available all day. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
My husband wants to see all 50 states, so we added on LA and MS. The history was fascinating, great historian on board and on tours. Most beautiful plantation of all was Houmas House. Being a gardener, I was quite enchanted with all the ... Read More
My husband wants to see all 50 states, so we added on LA and MS. The history was fascinating, great historian on board and on tours. Most beautiful plantation of all was Houmas House. Being a gardener, I was quite enchanted with all the flowers, trees, statuary (and very unusual and quirky statues) swan pond, fountains, and the house was gorgeous as well. Oak Alley Plantation was beautiful as well, and on our swamp tour we saw some gators, one up close, and even had one of the flying fish land on our boat, a most unusual happening we are told! New Orleans was delightful. Loved the Cathedral and French Quarter, Cafe Monde has great beignets and chicory coffee. The food onboard was top drawer, amazing chef. I particularly loved the soups. I would highly recommend this tour. Also, my husband uses a cane and walks slowly, and he never felt like he had to hurry on this cruise to catch up. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose this cruise because it was on my “bucket list,” and the safety of the United States. The boat is beautiful, but could use some maintenance, as far as paint, etc. We were in the Owner’s Suite with ample room, elevated ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was on my “bucket list,” and the safety of the United States. The boat is beautiful, but could use some maintenance, as far as paint, etc. We were in the Owner’s Suite with ample room, elevated amenities, private veranda, special balcony seating during entertainment in theater. The mattress on the double bed was not comfortable. The butler was very attentive, personable, and efficient. Dining was good but not exceptional. Breakfast and lunch options were buffet or from menu in the main dining room. The dinners were top-notch. Buffet dining was always available at another venue. The bars were tended by very good mixologists. Entertainment was good, considering the size of the boat. Lectures and other activities, such as bingo, were interesting and enjoyable. Service was probably the best part, though some dining staff had some attitude problem. A statement in its brochure said that the boat had an all American staff, and that was a bit of a stretch. The staff was very personable and warm, for the most part. The stops at Nottoway Plantation, Natchez, and Vicksburg were very nice and interesting, but the lower Mississippi doesn’t offer a lot of choices. Perhaps Baton Rogue should be considered. The boat glides smoothly along, pushed by its paddle wheel. It’s very relaxing and calming. Would we do it again? Absolutely, but with lower expectations and a mid range cabin. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
This was my wife’s first cruise so I booked the owner’s suite. Truth be told while it provided a larger cabin and a few more perks, just about every cabin on this boat has a veranda, a great hotel room experience (king size beds) and ... Read More
This was my wife’s first cruise so I booked the owner’s suite. Truth be told while it provided a larger cabin and a few more perks, just about every cabin on this boat has a veranda, a great hotel room experience (king size beds) and all of the perks that American provides - impeccable service, great food, and full access to a virtually unlimited supply of top shelf alcohol and great wines - with no upcharge for anything. Most tours are included and the evening enmterttgainment is excellent. This is a small boat so there is NO waiting in line for anything. The Hotel Director - Steve Benson - was in touch with us prior to the cruise and very helpful, from then until the moment that we departed in New Orleans. I just read a criticism of American Cruise Lines as generally as too expensive and comparable in “cost” to an ocean cruise. This had to have been written by someone who has never cruised on American and apparently unaware of the up charges for about everything on an ocean cruise and the crowds on these boats - not to mention their cost for a veranda cabin. I had read some of these reviews and in an email exchange I told the Hotel Director that I hoped to be able to write. “10” rating fairness the cruise. Truth be told - it’s a “9.9” - horrendous Wi-Fi/Internet on board. The acid test - we booked our next cruise while on board. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Created from a 1995 hull, 340 foot-long paddlewheeler, American Duchess, features four decks and employs 80 American crew to run the boat and manage its 80 suites—the first all-suite paddlewheeler to cruise U.S. rivers. The maximum ... Read More
Created from a 1995 hull, 340 foot-long paddlewheeler, American Duchess, features four decks and employs 80 American crew to run the boat and manage its 80 suites—the first all-suite paddlewheeler to cruise U.S. rivers. The maximum passengers she will sail with is only 166, so the crew-to-passenger ratio is quite high. Our cruise was sold out; however, the boat never felt crowded at any time, even in the show lounge where there were always plenty of seats. (There were 165 seats available, including the chairs that line each wall.) One of the reasons there was always so much space to roam was the fact that the suites range in size from 180 square feet (for an interior cabin like ours) to 550 square feet for a two-story loft suite featuring 19-foot ceilings. Those suites (and the Owner’s Suite) had their own “River Butler” to spoil them rotten, so I’m guessing those passengers spent a lot of time in their cabins! For those passengers who had the “Commodore Services” included with their suite and had a butler, he was available for them throughout the ship. We saw him everywhere, and he made sure his passengers knew it. Have you heard of helicopter parents? Well, he was a helicopter butler. Although the décor of the boat wasn’t to my taste, the abundance of blown and fused glass artwork was. Bruce and I absolutely loved it, especially since Bruce is a glass artist and glass is our favorite art medium. The American Duchess had a modern boutique hotel feel to it, rather than a traditional riverboat ambiance. In all honesty, we preferred the 1800’s motif of the American Queen, built and decorated to replicate the paddlewheelers of their heyday. Most notably, the Duchess lacks a promenade deck, a must for open air enjoyment of the views, especially for a sunset stroll. Of course, Winter Storm Inga didn’t allow for much of that; however, I would have sorely missed a promenade deck had the weather been better. (The Duchess does have a large sun deck; however, it just doesn’t have the appeal of the top deck space on the American Queen.) Sadly, the Duchess also lacked a calliope, a charming feature I enjoyed so much on the American Queen. The most impressive area of the Duchess was the bar, dining room, and stairs leading up to the Lincoln Library. The dining room layout was similar to the American Queen in that it had tall ceilings on each side with a lower ceiling in the center. Without a doubt, the dining room on the Duchess was nicer, though, because even though the boat was sold out (like it was when we were on the Queen), there was much more room in between the tables. In addition, there was only one seating; however, you could be seated any time within the open hours (5:30 – 8:00 PM for dinner) and dine either alone or with others. There was no assigned seating, and they accepted reservations for parties of six or more. Since the American Queen Steamboat Company has an executive chef who creates the menus for all three of their boats, the menus were similar to what we enjoyed on the Queen, and the food was similar—fabulous on both boats. The service on the Duchess was better, though, and much more relaxed. (By the way, we had the same Maitre D’ on both cruises! Oscar boarded the Duchess the same day we did.) The desserts (at least the chocolate ones!) were better on the Duchess, though. Rachel did a great job! I especially liked the creative little birthday dessert that was left in my cabin along with a card. I also received an incredible piece of chocolate ganache cake in the dining room for dessert! In addition to the dining room, the River Club and Terrace was a more casual option for meals. Breakfast and lunch were buffets, whereas dinners were table service. We enjoyed a lobster tail there on our first night aboard, when we joined the other Steamboat Society of America members (repeat cruisers with the company) for an invitation-only dinner. The final option for food was in Perks, a little café with a self-serve cappuccino machine, juice dispenser, popcorn maker, and windows to sit and watch the river. Those were all well and good; however, it was the fresh-baked chocolate chunk cookies I was after. Yeah, there were other varieties, too, but it was always extra special when I could nab my favorite! (In the morning, they had pastries, and fresh fruit was always available.) Entertainment included “Riverlorian” talks during the day, as well as the usual bingo, Name That Tune, trivia, etc. What we enjoyed the most, however, were the lounge shows each evening. Max (also the cruise director), his wife, Darcy, and Matt were three talented and personable singers who performed each night backed by a top-notch band. We had a few chats with Scott, the bass player, and it turned out we new several of the same San Diego-based jazz musicians! By far, the best feature of the American Duchess was its crew, from the captain on down. They bent over backwards to make every passengers’ experience a memorable one—especially when we were hit with snow and temperatures that averaged twenty degrees below normal. The day after the blizzard, Captain Joe McKey was out on the River Club Terrace scraping snow off the deck and cleaning things up. (Yes, you read that right; the captain!) In the dining room, Executive Chef Jeff Warner constantly came out to the “front of the house” (in restaurant speak) to help serve or pick up plates. He was very personable and made sure all his passengers were happy. Read the book Waiter Rant, and you will soon learn that is not typical. I know, because I worked in the restaurant/ hospitality business for several years, most notably at the University Club in San Diego for my last seven years. Unless it was to take a bow at an event or receive kudos from a requesting club member, the chef never left his comfortable domain of the kitchen. One thing that brought a smile to my face one late evening in the Lincoln Library was seeing one of the bartenders playing Monopoly with a young passenger who had nobody her age to pal around with on board. At another table, the Riverlorian was playing a card game with some other passengers. Whether that was permitted by the hotel manager or not, I don’t know; but, I sure hope they didn’t get reprimanded. As a matter of fact, I hope they will be encouraged in the future to do more of the same! It is an example of the congenial atmosphere that is evident between the crew and passengers, and it was, in a word, special. I hope they always keep the magic they have created. American Queen Steamboat Company has a winning formula down to every detail. The success they have had and the awards they have won are well-deserved. It is my hope they can sustain it and never cut back or cut anything out like what has happened with several of the large cruise ship lines. Ask any of the long-time cruisers with Princess Cruises or Royal Caribbean Cruise Line what I mean, and they will tell you. As a former guest lecturer with both companies, I speak from experience. When you start cutting back, people notice, and you will lose your most loyal customers. More importantly, word gets around. American Queen Steamboat Company, you have a great thing going. May it always stay that way!" Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Well we started planning our American holiday two years ago, and found the cruise while we were surfing the web. From the first contact requesting a brochure the service was amazing. When it came tie to book our trip, we received a ... Read More
Well we started planning our American holiday two years ago, and found the cruise while we were surfing the web. From the first contact requesting a brochure the service was amazing. When it came tie to book our trip, we received a call from America to us in Australia, we didn't even have to pay for the phone call. We were delighted to find out that we could select our own cabin, and that we would be given the night before our cruise in a hotel in New Orleans included in our package, and would be taken to the America by bus from the hotel. On embarkation we were greeted by friendly staff easily identified by their uniform, and informed that our cabin was waiting for us to move on in. From that moment on we were treated like royalty. I have a food allergy and was invited, along with others with allergies/special diets, to meet the Chef. He very nicely explained about his food prep area and that all allergies/special requests were noted and would be carefully monitored. One passenger was a full Vegan and the Chef and Head Mai'tre D assured her that she was fully catered for. We were not made to feel at any time that we were a "trouble". Our cabin was spacious and very comfortable, with a private balcony, all cabins except those on the main deck have balconies, which had a table and two chairs so we could enjoy the sights and sounds of the Mississippi as we sailed along. Each day we were able to help ourselves to a sumptuous array of fresh fruit/cereals/danishes, as well as a selection of hot choices of the day. French toast/eggs/oatmeal/bacon etc. Lunch and the evening meal included wine or beer or juice, and if you liked a little from this selection and a little from that, the wait staff simply advised the Chef and that's what you got. The shore excursions included in the cruise were well planned, organised and carried out. The night before we were given a run down on the next day's activity which included any access issues, for example long walk/stairs/ramps. Nothing was missed out. The evenings entertainment was varied, and included a talk by the on-board historian who was very knowledgeable and informative. The musicians were fabulous, and each a different take on jazz/blues/old favourites. I can not speak highly enough of the Crew, by the end of the first day we were known by name, greeted warmly by all we came across and nothing seemed like too much trouble. As in any activity things do not always go quite as planned, but if this happened we didn't seem to hear about it til it was over and fixed, a sign of true professionals. If we could, we would do the other half of the Mississippi with this line, but sadly time didn't allow this, but fingers x'd we will one day get to sail again with the America and her fabulous crew. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We have family in the Pacific Northwest and wanted to both see them and tour the region. We are in our seventies and found most of the passengers just around our age bracket. The boat is easy to both board and get around. The hotel ... Read More
We have family in the Pacific Northwest and wanted to both see them and tour the region. We are in our seventies and found most of the passengers just around our age bracket. The boat is easy to both board and get around. The hotel accommodations before the cruise were quite good. Clean quiet room. The check-in procedure went well. The boat was close enough to the hotel that we could walk to it. The most outstanding feature that I remember about the boat is that it had the loudest flushing toilets I have ever heard. I've been on other cruises and have used the facilities. But this was a roaring beast! As to the ports of call, I realize that weather is a contributing factor in allowing the rivers to be navigable. I find that usually some adjustment has to be made as to itinerary. The company knows this as it happens often. Yet the American Empress seems to be caught off guard by it. On our next to the last day we were to cruise up the Snake River. This couldn't happen and we were left at a industrial dock. The speed boat trip down the Snake became a bus trip to Walla Walla. The company could have accommodated the boat trip, but told the speed boat company that they had something else planned for its passengers. As for the food, there is certainly enough of it and, as cruises go, it is good. But practically every traveler on this cruise was hovering ten years on either side of sixty. Food was entirely too salty for this clientele. Also, desserts were never printed on the menu. I suspect this was because they ran out of certain offerings. The scenery was absolutely breath-taking and the riverlorian a highlight of the cruise. He knew both his geography and history. But, all in all, it was a mediocre cruise at best. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
I chose this cruise for two reasons 1) I had traveled on the American Queen and had a great time and 2) the Snake and Columbia Rivers were places I wanted to explore. That being said, one must be philosophical about river travel. This ... Read More
I chose this cruise for two reasons 1) I had traveled on the American Queen and had a great time and 2) the Snake and Columbia Rivers were places I wanted to explore. That being said, one must be philosophical about river travel. This spring the water in the Snake has been too high for some weeks. Unfortunately, mine was one of those weeks. So two of the reasons I signed up for the tour, the Snake River and the Dalles were cancelled. However, this cruise still gets 5 stars because everything that is the control of the on board staff and crew is perfect! The food, the service, the boat, the entertainment cannot be topped. Our Riverlorian, Laurence, was outstanding. The entertainment crew was top notch. In the evenings when I should have been watching the river go by, I was enjoying the entertainment at both ends of the boat. There are not enough superlative words to describe the level of talent on the Empress. The size of the boat is perfect.It is smaller than the AQ but so intimate. After two or three days the crew knows your name, and you have made friends with folks from all over. A few tips:1) If you are traveling with a friend and sharing a room, see if you can get a room where the beds are perpendicular to each other. If I had known this was option I would have requested it as the rooms are very small for two people to move around in. 2) For those of us mechanically challenged, a card in near the shower with instructions as to how to operate it would have been very helpful. 3) Get to know the deck crew. I was lucky to have met Terry. From him I learned that to see one of the best river lock/dam systems anywhere in the world, the John Day, I would need to be at the bow of the boat at 3am. He arranged a wake up call and I was there with a few other hearty folks. It was amazing! 4) Get a bike at the ports where you can bike along the river. 5) On a rainy day, get the art brochure from the pursers office and take yourself on a tour of the art on the boat. It is really nice stuff. Shore Excursions and Ports of Call: One suggestion for the AQ company, is for more time in Astoria. One day was not nearly enough. We spent two days in a smaller port where there was much less to see. Would I go again? YES but only if I could be sure that I would be able to be on the Snake River and see the Dalles. Time of year might make a difference and I would check on that before I booked. I embarked in Spokane a lovely city, with a fine book store with craft shop attached. Loved the Davenport Hotel. I disembarked in Portland. Both processes went smoothly. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
. We particularly enjoyed the entertainment and felt that the actors and musicians were superior to nearly all the acts we have experienced on many cruise ships. The service, from the all American Staff, was mostly very good and the ... Read More
. We particularly enjoyed the entertainment and felt that the actors and musicians were superior to nearly all the acts we have experienced on many cruise ships. The service, from the all American Staff, was mostly very good and the food was plentiful and good, without being outstanding with the exception of the cookies to die for. The front porch cafe was often busy at peak times but we were always able to find somewhere to sit and there were plenty of places where you could sit and watch the Mississippi go by. The hop on hop off bus run by the ship in every port of call was well organised and very good: it gave us flexibility and an idea of the places worth a visit. In short we had a most enjoyable trip: any issues, and there were a few, were dealt with quickly and effectively with the minimum of fuss. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2016
We always wanted to go to New Orleans and to cruise the Mississippi. So, the cruise on the paddle wheel America from New Orleans to Memphis was a dream come true that surpassed all expectations!! The young staff was absolutely ... Read More
We always wanted to go to New Orleans and to cruise the Mississippi. So, the cruise on the paddle wheel America from New Orleans to Memphis was a dream come true that surpassed all expectations!! The young staff was absolutely delightful. It was most encouraging seeing young people begin their careers. This staff was ALWAYS pleasant and ready to meet any request. Yes, they did make a few minor mistakes, but were always apologetic (and as a retired teacher I firmly believe that you learn best from your mistakes.) Cruising on a small ship with Bill our educator (can't remember his title) made history come alive. The entertainment was remarkable!! The Victory Belles from the WWII Museum brought back the "old" songs. Weldon and Bill Jazz duo were amazing. I usually am not a big fan of comedians, but the singing comedian Judy was well loved by all the audience. Vicksburg stands out as a destination. We had never heard much about this Civil War site, but it beats Gettysburg by a mile. Natchez was another standout as was Memphis. The Plantation tours gave us good insights into King Cotton. Relaxing, Seeing, Eating, Learning and being Entertained what more could you ask for. It was so good we booked a cruise on the Columbia and Snake Rivers for the fall of 2017. Hint: We had perfect weather in early November Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
I was a passenger on the inaugural trip of the Louisiane, and while there were some hiccups--as can be expected on a shakedown cruise--the food was incredible, the lectures fun and informative, and the excursions, well researched and ... Read More
I was a passenger on the inaugural trip of the Louisiane, and while there were some hiccups--as can be expected on a shakedown cruise--the food was incredible, the lectures fun and informative, and the excursions, well researched and coordinated. The most important element was that the French America Line management recognized the flaws, and since the cruise was not up to their standards, they--through Roads Scholar--refunded the cost of the cruise in full. It's really hard to grow angry at any elements in a trip, when the owners of the cruise line give my money back in full. As one of the owners noted in the very beginning, it was a shakedown cruise. Phones and Cable TV did not work on the first day, but they were up and running by the second night. As far as I could see by the last evening, the Louisiane and her crew had achieved exactly the quality of travel that one expects from a "Four Star" Rivercruise line. And, that does not even note the incredible four bands that were aboard, from a French Jazz Quartette to a New York Classic Crooner balladeer and her band to an authentic Cajun Family of singers to a Southern Gospel performer. All of the alcohol and amenities were included, and the excursions--particularly in Natchez--were as excellent as I have ever encountered. And, I must say that while some had some hot water problems on the first day, I did not, and never lacked for a hot shower in my second floor cabin. And, I must emphasize again. Ultimately, I got my money back in full for the cruise. Any cruise line that will pay me back after the cruise is over, just because not everything on the maiden voyage was not perfect-- is one upon which I wish to travel again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
With last minute change to Nashville we were treated to a stay at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel as well as an evevning at the Grand Ole Opry. Great fun. Cruising the Cumberland River was a treat and with our Naturalist Steve Marking and ... Read More
With last minute change to Nashville we were treated to a stay at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel as well as an evevning at the Grand Ole Opry. Great fun. Cruising the Cumberland River was a treat and with our Naturalist Steve Marking and his lovely wife adding informative narrative as we went through the narrow waterway. The trip was enjoyable until we reached the lower Mississippi and a pattern developed as we would arrive in the morning and leave at 12:30, not allowing enough time to see all of the offered excursions or the towns, and only to arrive at the next port the same afternoon or early evening. We arrived at New Orleans the afternoon prior to disembarkation the next morning. The extra cost tour of Graceland was 1 hour short and most on tour were not able to see the entire exhibit. The planners need to review this trip. The fitness equipment was in need of maintenance and repair. The food was generally very good but by most ocean cruise standards very limited in scope and selection. The quality and presentation was excellent but I have never been served a half of a sandwich at lunch. The wait staff were just wonderful and made our meals even more enjoyable as well as the cruise staff who could not have been more accomodating. The entertainment was hit and miss. One group fair the next outstanding. But all in all it was a fun trip and we booked two cruises for next year. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We cruised on the American Queen last October on the Tennessee/Columbia Rivers and enjoyed it very much. The positives of this cruise was the size of the room and its furnishing (other than the twin beds!), the service, the shore ... Read More
We cruised on the American Queen last October on the Tennessee/Columbia Rivers and enjoyed it very much. The positives of this cruise was the size of the room and its furnishing (other than the twin beds!), the service, the shore excusions and all the guides. There are several suggestions I would like to make: The first three deal with what is printed in the brochure... 1)It states that we had a option for twin beds or queen...no one asked which preferred...when we discovered we might have twin beds about two weeks before the cruise, I telephoned and talked with Tamara...I think she tried to accommodate us, but to no avail. The wording in the brochure and the pictured rooms all show a queen bed. We were duped! My husband and I have been married 2 1/2 years and in addition,this was his birthday cruise and we were stuck with twin beds! Really? Why not specify in the brochure that the choice is "upon request"? 2)The second "mistake" in the brochure is the "complimentary" cappuccino...we never could find that the crew had no idea where it was either. 3) The brochure also states that each room has a DVD. That was simply not true. We brought along two DVDs about Lewis and Clark and the purser had to locate one and plug it up to the TV with the DVD placed on one of the chairs. I guess we were lucky they found one! I would like to suggest that you provide optional name tags for the guests...issued at the first opportunity...whether at the hotel, on the first shore excursion before leaving the city, or upon arrival at the ship. That name tag might also note the guest's home town so we can forego "Where are you from?" I would have liked to have better wi-fi service so I could download my photos from my phone and my husband's phone and manage them at night when there was time. Whenever you decided to add more tour buses please consider domed buses especially in the areas where the scenery is mostly mountains and please consider cup holders, netting and hooks for purses. We love the buses as far as the outside and the comfort inside and the guides were exceptional! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2016
Best trip of our lives! The quality was superb! The staff was of the highest quality as was the food and entertainment. I was shocked by the excellence of everything. From the songs of Michaelyn Obry to Kris who let us off the boat in ... Read More
Best trip of our lives! The quality was superb! The staff was of the highest quality as was the food and entertainment. I was shocked by the excellence of everything. From the songs of Michaelyn Obry to Kris who let us off the boat in such a chipper manner every day, there was no hiccup. Everything was fabulous. American Steamboat has a Hop on Hop off bus meet you at each port to ensure you see the sites. I cannot recommend this company enough! THEY ARE OUTSTANDING! They provided a stay at the Sheraton in Memphis that did not have our rooms ready. To apologize, the steamboat company gave us each $150 shipboard credit. They are a class act. There is nothing more pleasant than lying in an air-conditioned stateroom , watching the shoreline float by. This was our first Steamboat, but now we want to do ALL OFF THEM and use American Steamboat! OUTSTANDING! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This is my first cruise with American Queen Steamboat Company. Although it is only my 2nd day I have had many requests and they have all been fufilled. I have some food allergies and requests and they were all taken seriously, although it ... Read More
This is my first cruise with American Queen Steamboat Company. Although it is only my 2nd day I have had many requests and they have all been fufilled. I have some food allergies and requests and they were all taken seriously, although it limited my choices. There is a historian on board (Riverlorian as he is called) and love the talks. They are not always at a time when we can make it. I am relaxed and happy. This is a much better feeling than the other large cruise lines. I wish I still drank wine because that was really flowing last night.. all included. The entertainment is much better than I imagined. The post cries stay hotel in New Orleans is awesome. am looking to take the Colombia River Cruise next year. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
Our first ever river cruise was on the American Queen from New Orleans to Memphis. This very unique journey on a genuine 400 passenger Mississippi River steamboat was fabulous in every way. The embarkation and disembarkation processes ... Read More
Our first ever river cruise was on the American Queen from New Orleans to Memphis. This very unique journey on a genuine 400 passenger Mississippi River steamboat was fabulous in every way. The embarkation and disembarkation processes were outstanding, as was the organization of the included hop-on/hop-off tours and the premium tours. The places visited were rich with history and architecture and there was always more to see than you had time for. The food and service were excellent, and the variety and quality of the entertainment was outstanding, especially on such a small boat. The captain even played with the musicians in the beautiful Engine Room bar. Gerry the Riverlorian was both informative and very entertaining. The décor was Victorian ostentation, and immersed you in the elegant heyday of the Mississippi steamboat era. Everything was so well organized that we experienced only one little glitch--we had dreamed of sipping a mint julep on the deck rocking chairs, but they never had any mint! The passenger loyalty is staggering--we met "Miss Ruth" on her 150th trip on this boat. The line thanked her back by upgrading her to a luxury suite. She said she hardly knew what to do with the butler, but the digs were wonderful. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
This was our 3rd AQ cruise and a major disappointment! The food was awful, not even truck stop quality. the pastries and bread were store bought instead of home made. the sauces/gravies were congealed in an unappetizing glue when served. ... Read More
This was our 3rd AQ cruise and a major disappointment! The food was awful, not even truck stop quality. the pastries and bread were store bought instead of home made. the sauces/gravies were congealed in an unappetizing glue when served. they ran out of earl grey tea. most of the waiters were surly and inattentive at best. we came for lunch one day, waiters standing around, no one offered to seat us. one waiter was at the salad bar scooping up salad fixings into a plastic bag with no gloves on. finally we seated ourselves at a table by the window and went through the buffet line. as i picked up my fork to start eating, a waiter came by, said 'this table is closed', took away my silverware and glass and left me sitting there! at the captain's receptions, the snacks offered were STALE croutons topped with very nice salmon, but the salmon couldn't make up for the stale bread. and the weirdest thing was that the waiters poured bottle after bottle of champagne, walked around with trays of champagne, but wouldn't serve it, and when the hour was over, they poured dozens of glasses of champagne into the garbage! we ordered a baked potato several nights and got that awful "been on the hot tray for hours" gluey textured insult to a properly baked potato. ordered a steak one nite, purportedly a new york strip. they were obviously out of steaks and had cut a thin slice off the brisket they were serving as pot roast that night. tough as leather and as thin as a pancake! there was a nice omelet/waffle station at breakfast but the cook/waiter hadn't changed his uniform all week. it was disgusting! NOT what one expects when you spend $700/day on a cruise! The tours were ok, but not nearly as interesting as on the st paul to st louis or the columbia river cruise. the entertainment was lively but not great. the banjo player mistakenly thought he was tremendous but he was VERY mistaken. the jug band was the only really good entertainment. more appropriate would have been a single or duo playing acoustic guitar and banjo and singing songs and ballads of the river. the riverlorian was great. his lectures were a 'don't miss'. i would not book a cruise with the AQ again. i don't know if they're fixing to go bankrupt and cutting costs or what but we left feeling insulted rather than pleased and relaxed from an enjoyable cruise. the other couples at our dinner table agreed that the cruise did not meet their expectations and they would neither go on another nor would they recommend the AQ to anyone. Read Less

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